Wills and Rice Chapter Five

29 Oct

In their chapter, “What are you going to do with that major? An Eportfolio as bridge from the university to the world,” Karen Johnson and Susan Kahn share their attempts to use e-portfolios as a transition from writing in the university to writing in the professional world. Beginning from the common recognition of fear, anxiety, and potential homelessness that many English majors face as they near graduation, they design an e-portfolio curriculum for IUPUI’s Senior Capstone Course that utilizes e-portfolios as a means of presenting a professional self. Designed with the needs of their mostly non-traditional students in mind, their curriculum engages students in a structured presentation of their work as English majors along with sustained reflection which relates their experience within the major to the career paths individual students hope to pursue as well their role as global citizens in a highly networked world. They found that this program relieved many of the anxieties of students and helped them to develop confidence that their work as an English major had indeed developed skills with which they could make a living. Moreover, they demonstrated an increased ability to reflect not only on their experiences, but on their writing and intellectual processes.


Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “Wills and Rice Chapter Five

  1. profkelp

    October 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I think this article definitely shares some ideas with Middlebrook and Sun’s chapter (chapter 7, on “blogfolios”) in ePortfolio Performance Support Systems. Toward the end of the chapter, the two authors begin making claims about the power and potency of a blogfolio (an ePortfolio with a blogging element) in terms of professional connectivity and identity. They make the case that blogfolios not only can connect newcomers with professionals who are already working in the field, but that a blogfolio can be so impressive and indicative of the person’s writing capabilities that it can get them hired, and hired quickly.

  2. brucebowlesjr

    October 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm


    This reminds me of the Good et al. piece we read about, where they were using writing assessments to help disciplines tailor their pedagogies to the specific needs of students in those majors. Although focused on the academic angle, it seemed that–in many ways–this was emphasizing the idea of differing discourse communities within disciplines and professions. Here, Willis and Rice seem to be using the portfolio to help shape students thoughts about what careers they will be entering and how their experiences as English majors can help them market themselves in various career paths.

    I’m wondering about the selection process for these portfolios. What artifacts are included? Are they chosen to specifically reflect work that proves a particular student’s competence for a particular field? I’d be intrigued to know more.

  3. amypiotrowski

    October 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I read Ch. 3 in the eportfolio book, and it was also about using eportfolios for future employment. The chapter that I read focused on the social affordances of eportfolios. Students created eportfolios using WordPress and then read and commented on one another’s work. One student used his eportfolio to showcase his design and marketing skills in the hopes of getting a job. Sounds like eportfolios can be used to show what students have learned in ways that may help them when they go to apply for jobs.

  4. jeffnaftzinger

    October 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    As you mentioned on my post, I think our articles are very similar. As you pointed out, the City Tech program focuses on more technical majors, while the IUPUI program was working only with English majors. Another one of the major differences is that, although this is a newish program, it seems like City Tech is working on making this is a portfolio that is developed early on in a student’s academic career, and updated/changed throughout their time at City Tech. The IUPUI portfolios are started at the very end of the student’s time. I think it would be interesting to see the similarities and differences between how these portfolios look. Maybe the final-ish versions of the City Tech portfolios look similar to the ones that are developed in the IUPUI program. Or maybe this difference says something about when the students are applying for jobs; the English dept students don’t apply until the very end, while the City Tech students are applying for jobs during their schooling.


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